The Case of the Red Slipper [ play report | FKR | part one ]

sean f. smith / he, him
6 min readSep 9, 2022
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The plan was to play via live-text for a hour, with very few rules — essentially if your character could do it, they can, or they’ll know the cost. If we needed to randomise, we’d roll 2D6 against each other, with ties going to players (plus complications)


  • you’re a “hero” in that you do dangerous things for money or fame
  • consider the phrase *NOW AND THEN*
  • what is it you do NOW (job)
  • what else do you do (hobby)
  • what did you do (history)
  • and whatever else bio details you want


  • = Maelo, an elf, a tomb raider now, who also does a little bit of magic on the side, little vancian tricks — minor telekinesis, pyrotechnics. extra utility spells to help out, but nothing super amazing, and I used to be a cat burglar
  • = Cinder, a grizzled veteran sellsword who wants to do just one more job so he can retire and be a mushroom farmer. He is a former beloved child actor.

“I’ll tell ya, Maelo. I’m getting too old for this stuff. I can’t wait to hang up my sword and just grow portabellos all day.”

“I’ll give you the best of the cut. For seed money. Compost money? What do you grow mushrooms in, anyway?”

“That’s very generous of you, Maelo! I will bring you the finest mushrooms of my first harvest! Compost, by the way. Rich, rich compost.”


You’re hired by a toff of a man called Baron von Leffe who is incensed that his squire has been killed by bandits. “Not only that — they defiled his body! Took his arm right off and took it with them. Go show them what for.” If you find and return von Leffe’s signet ring too, you’ll get a bonus.

“Sorry for your loss, von Leffe. Nasty business. I’d like to begin by examining the body. Where was he found again?”

“My condolences, Baron sir.”

“What would a bandit possibly want with a squire’s right arm, Maelo? The signet ring, I suppose. Seems like a rather extreme measure though just to forge a document..”

“Well, he was right there with me when they demanded coin from us! Shot the boy to death and as I, uh, tactically redeployed, they recovered their arrows and took him arm off with a cleaver!

“The body is lying in state in the ice-room for anyone who wants to pay respects. I suppose we can kick out any crowds so you can examine it.”

“Maybe the bandit wanted to use it for a grisly handpuppet! Or they wanted to copy his tattoo or something. Blood for ink? SO MANY OPTIONS.”

Cinder blinks a few times at Maelo. “Yes, I suppose I hadn’t thought of all that. Good thinking, Maelo.”

“Lead on Cinder.”


You’re in the Baron’s ice-room. It is very cold. There were no crowds, but von Leffe did check to see if he needed to root out anyone who might have been hiding.

How do you examine the body?

“Just to be clear, the boy was wearing your signet ring?” von Leffe nods: the boy had a version of the same ring that von Leffe wears. You can see the repeated motif across his home too; a drinking goblet with boar tusks

Maelo checks for the arrow wounds the Baron described.

Cinder looks at the body with the eye of an experienced battlefield commander. “Yes, the arrows came from such and such direction at so and so an angle… The cut went clean through! The cleaver was wielded with extraordinary strength!” From looking over the angles of the arrow wounds, Cinder can work out the direction the bandits would have come from. There’s no spread that suggests they fanned out before attacking either.

“I’m more worried if they covered the arrows with like poison, or uh. I’m in a upper-class polite place so if they put ‘compost’ on the arrows.”

The cleaver chopped the arm off right at the shoulder too: strength like that you’d expect of someone ogreishly strong

“You know, this reminds me a show we once did on Li’l Fatso’s Jamboree when I was a wee board trotter. Of course, we were trying to solve the saccharine mystery of who stole the cookie from the cookie jar. Not the ghastly one of who purloined the arm of the dead squire. But the procedure remains the same: we must next proceed to the scene of the crime!”

“Aye aye mushroom cap’n!”

Maelo sees that one of the arrow wounds retains the arrow-head, and there is a clear darkening of the flesh around the wound: a neurotoxin of the sort is often used to trap fanciful graves. The toxin itself is no longer on the arrowhead, having done its deadly work

(trap fanciful graves? so like you use it on traps to protect a gravesite?) (yeah, basically a dormant poison that’s used on like Indiana Jones style tomb traps)

“Tell me, von Leffe. You don’t have any enemies do you?”

von Leffe looks at Cinder with a splash of offence on his face. “Enemies?! None within this kingdom! They did try and ask us for coin, but as is only right we refused such banditry.”

He looks down at his cold squire and shifts his feet a little.

“You’re nervous. Are you not telling us something?”

“Maelo, by jove you’re right! The narcotization here suggests the toxic Red Slipper, a deadly mushroom that grows on the rich loamy soil of the graveyard.”

“The Case of the Red Slipper. Wasn’t that one of your shows on Lil Fatso’s Jamboree, too? I remember watching it when I was drunk one night.”

“Astute memory, Maelo. Indeed it was, but in the case of Li’l Fatso it was of course a literal missing slipper. This is something entirely more sinister.”

(Cinder was basically on a Disney childrens detective show I guess) (Which Maelo enjoyed watching as an adult elf catburglar drinking off her crime proceeds.)

“Come now, von Leffe. If you’re holding anything back, you’re only hurting yourself. Give us the tools we need to do the job well.”

“Could somebody have been behind this banditry?”

“Very well you shall have the long and long of it.

“We had been warned against travelling that route. Hell, even some of my vassals have been asking me to check out the region. There has long been tell of bandits who steal the arms of their victims.”

He mumbles this next bit: “I thought we would be above such loss.”

Cinder unconsciously strokes his sword-swinging / mushroom-planting arm as he considers such a fate.

“So you’re asking us to do a job you should’ve sent your own guards to do previously?”



“Extra gold right now, up front. An extra half.

“Because this is embarrassing to you, and we can fix it, but you’re putting us in extra danger.”

He shuffles his feet again, then hands over a couple of large denomination coins, almost the full fare again

“I don’t suppose you have the change?”

“Of course.” I give him the change and hand the coins themselves over to Cinder.

“I have heard whispers of a wicked necromancy, an insult to god and man. The foul mimicry of life called the BALL OF ARMS. A mindless whirlwind of fists, grabbing and punching.. Whatever dark force is behind the bandits must be trying to create the abomination. Maelo, we must waste no further time in stopping them! At once!!”

“Wait, we have to make a stop along the way.”

“Oh, yes, certainly. It’s probably not that urgent after all. By all means!” 🙂


THE BANK where Maelo watches Cinder deposit his extra compost money in safekeeping just in case something bad happens while they’re fighting bandits. “That way if something goes wrong you can still live your dreams, Mushroom Captain.”


Cinder sitting down with a lawyer drawing a will so that in the event of his untimely death, the Li’l Fatso Memorial Mushroom Farm will open up and teach children the joys of composting


the faces of beaming orphans in dirty rags now with a reason to live: mushroom farming!


To be continued!

(Though if you want a headstart on the dungeon they’re headed to, you can pick it up here.)